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HERESA (Higher Education Reform Experts South Africa)

Overview and aims

Funded under the Erasmus + theme of Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education, the HERE SA project will support the development of networks and communities of practice to ensure the development of expertise and capability in the areas of strengthening governance and university leadership, particularly related to teaching and learning, innovative curricula development, oriented towards the 4IR, competence-based learning (CBL) and work integrated learning (WIL), and entrepreneurship education. The overall intention is to establish a network of Higher Education Reform Experts to support the governance, strategic planning and management of HEI in SA, so as to shape institutional and also national HE strategies for teaching and learning, in response to changing labour market and societal needs.

Specific Objectives:

  • Empower South African technical universities to devise and revise strategic plans for the development of innovative curricula that integrate, 1) competence-based learning (CBL), 2) work-integrated learning (WIL) and 3) entrepreneurship education.
  • Consolidate a sustainable network of leadership-endorsed higher education reform experts (HERE SA) in South African universities that will be agents for change, guiding the strategy development process in the areas highlighted in SO1.
  • Develop higher education reform capacity in the network, through Europe-South Africa training and practice sharing activities.
  • To implement the revised strategic plans (SO1) by providing technical assistance to South African universities, guided by the HERE SA network and European experts, in the areas of a) university academic leadership development, b) innovative curricula development (CBL and WIL) and c) entrepreneurship education.
  • Provide a basis to expand the higher education reform experts network in South Africa and connect it to South African and international policy making bodies for higher education.


The project is led jointly by THENSA and OBreal and includes several South African universities as well as EU universities.  This 3-year project funded through the Erasmus + commenced in January 2021 and will run for 36 months.

MTU Role

MTU will take part in all project work packages: a team of contributing experts has been identified with specific expertise relevant to the project aims.  The MTU participants include the Extended Campus, Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence, Technology Enhanced Learning Unit, Department of Mechanical, Biomedical and Manufacturing Engineering and the Nimbus Research Centre.

MTU will participate in the organisation of technical assistance missions for the implementation of specific aspects of the strategic plan and also select key staff members to support the shadowing and coaching exercises.

Particular expertise in supporting and responding to enterprise learning and research needs through flexible and responsive relationships and methodologies will inform our contributions to the project aims. Entrepreneurship education and technology-enabled leaning are particular strengths of the MTU team. We will contribute to quality monitoring throughout the project as per the quality plan and also participate in the steering committee to monitor the project and support key decision-making. MTU will co-lead WP3 with POLITO and be on the Technical assistance organization team.

Intended Outputs
At the institutional level, the six participating SA universities will have developed, revised or improved an innovative teaching and learning strategy at each institution that will be more strongly rooted in approaches related to competence-based learning, work-integrated learning, teaching for the 4IR and entrepreneurial education.

At the national level, a main output will be the HERE SA network, which will be consolidated and transformed into a permanent network and dialogue partner of the government. The ambition will be to expand the network to other SA universities, so that it provides a more comprehensive coverage of the SA HE sector. This network will produce policy briefs (a sub-output) based specifically on the topics explored in the HERESA project (CBL, WIL, entrepreneurship education) but will later cover the full realm of relevant HE reform topics for SA, such as research capacity building and also inclusion. Inspiration is drawn for the HERE network in the EU neighborhood region, which is currently supported by the European Commission ( Another expected concrete result is the consolidation of cooperation between the SA technical universities and a number of strategic partners in Europe.

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